NASFAA Federal Issues Committee
The Sunday after Thanksgiving I was sitting in my favorite, overstuffed blue chair, wrapped in a couple of blankets, dog curled up beside me and listening to the TV, when an announcement was made that curled my toes. “Congress is back in lame duck session tomorrow,” the newscaster said. I nearly choked on my hot tea. “Dang,” I thought to myself, “there goes my few months of election frenzy peace.
One of the most interesting parts of being Past President of RMASFAA is that I also serve our region on the NASFAA Federal Issues Committee. This group meets monthly by phone to discuss “what is up” on the Hill. I just attended my first official meeting as your representative and felt that you all would probably like an update as we slip back into Congressional monitoring mode.
THE DREADED FISCAL CLIFF: On this topic, I feel our profession appears to be ahead of the general populace. We learned all about this at the October RMASFAA conference. Listening to the media these days, it would seem that this event has caught the rest of the world by surprise. So, score one for NASFAA and Justin Draeger. For federal aid, the two items that hang in the balance are campus based funding and origination fees on student loans. Although NASFAA is carefully monitoring the conversations, they are letting the bigger, more powerful groups lead the charge on this fight. Keep watching Today’s News for information, but NASFAA will not be issuing a general call to action unless something truly dire looms on the horizon for federal aid.
THE FABULOUS SHOPPING SHEET: This week, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released an article indicating that consumer testing on the College Scorecard suggested that the tool might not accomplish the goal it set out to achieve. The group cited one student’s reaction, “What am I looking at? It looks like a bill or something but I’m not sure what it is. This is why I hate college stuff.” Read the entire article at: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/higher-education/report/2012/12/03/46306/improving-the-college-scorecard/. NASFAA will be adding to the dialogue by conducting our own consumer testing on the illustrious Shopping Sheet. The idea is to survey actual students and parents on the usefulness of this new tool to inform the consumer information debate that will most likely continue once the newly elected Congress takes office. Look for the results of this testing shortly after the new year. I for one will be eagerly tuning in.
RADD & RTF: NASFAA has two groups working on proactive policy development initiatives that will be presenting their findings early in 2013. The first is RADD (Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery) – a Gates Foundation sponsored study designed to ask the “big picture” questions about how financial aid could be best delivered in today’s world. Recommendations are due back to the Foundation by the end of the first week of January. This is an exciting initiative and we look forward to seeing the NASFAA contribution to the overall discussion. The second group, RTF (Reauthorization Task Force), is wrapping up its activities and compiling the results into a report which will contain recommendations for policy and regulatory change in the areas of loans, consumer information, need analysis and R2T4. They will be presenting their recommendations to the NASFAA board early in the year.
Justin finished the call by reminding all of us that the Legislative Conference will again be held in conjunction with the NASFAA Leadership conference. The Leadership Conference is held annually in Washington DC in March. This year’s event is scheduled for March 10-12 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel. Information on the conference is located on the NASFAA website under Training & Professional Development. This conference is an excellent experience for anyone wishing to delve deeper into legislative advocacy.
Please let me know if you have any issues or concerns that you would like me to bring forward for you as I continue my service as your voice on this committee.
Until next month,
Director of Financial Aid, AFC
100 College St
Winfield, KS 67156
“Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” Douglas Adams – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy